Thursday 17 July 2008

The Day Safiya Decided to go to Granny's By Herself

Yesterday Safiya ran away. Well, almost. She had finished what she was doing, I was in the middle of trying to get an order done, and she wanted me to teach her how to crochet a Daddy sea slug. My suggestion of "later" was not part of the plan, I got frustrated and she got upset.

She went upstairs to vent, and I heard her complaining away (she doesn't realise I can hear her, which is actually quite amusing), I went upstairs to give her some solace, then back down to the studio.

A long pause, some pattering around, supplies falling on the floor, and some muttering. This is the conversation that followed, us communicating between floors:

"Mama, how do you spell Mama?"

And then I heard her spelling first Mr. S.'s name and then her name S-A-F-I-Y-A....

"How do you spell is?"

"And Going?"
"G-O-I-N-G"....And here my scissors pause, intrigued...



"D-I-F-F-E-R-E-N-T.....A different what, honey?"

"I can't tell you"
"Oh, o.k...."


"Mama, can I tell you anything?"
"Yes, honey, you can tell me anything."

"A Different House. Mama, how do you spell House?"

And then I went upstairs.

I found her lying on the floor by the front door, shoes on, despondent in the way that only little almost-four-year-old girls can be, and having decided she was going to Granny's house because there, "Granny plays with me all day." There was a note. With tears in her eyes, she patted my arm and told me, "Don't worry Mama, I'll be back in 12 days."

I asked her if she had everything she needed. She perked up, pattered back into the playroom and returned with one of her stuffed animals and her piggybank "because I'll need money...." We talked about bus tickets and she remembered to ask me for the key to Granny's house so she could get in. She asked me to open the door, I asked if she needed her hat, she said "Thanks Mama", got about 3 feet out the door, and then turned and cried...."But I'll miss you, Mama!"

Hugs, more crying, some ambivalence about staying or going - she missed Granny so much, you see, but also, "I like it here". It was an afternoon of between-us talking and much hugs and kisses, me trying to hold back laughter and tears at the same time.

Safiya, my honey, you never cease to amaze me. Thank you for an afternoon of just us.

As for the rest of the day, this was the song that floated around in and about the two of us, comforting and holding my hand....

Where are you going, my little one, little one?
Where are you going, my baby, my own?
Turn around and you're two,
Turn around and you're four,
Turn around and you're a young girl,
Going out of my door.

Turn around, turn around,
Turn around and you're a young girl,
Going out of my door....


Anonymous said...

That was a good story...sad and amusing at the same time. i remember wanting to run away to your house when we were little...I threw socks and underwear down the stairs, and had a fit because it was late and I couldn't go!!

Anonymous said...

You're a very sweet mom.

Kate said...

oh what an adorable story... i can't imagine what kind of amazing patience you have to let her think it through, talk about buses, make sure she has everything she needs... I'd be like no!!! don't go! not by yourself!! I guess that's why you get to "grow" into being a mom... in a few more years hopefully I'll be ready to indulge my four year old child in her wants and desires. you are an awesome mom!

Anonymous said...

That's so sweet - what a lucky girl to have a mom like you! (And what a lucky you!!)

Things Hand Made said...

One day I realised the houses seemed a bit quieter than usual and I wondered why. Outside the front door he sat. I asked him why and he replied that he wanted to go to a friends house but was waiting for someone to cross him over the road! Luckily it wasn't a busy day so I put my shoes on and we went together!

Anonymous said...

Oh, some days I do so wish I could stay home all day. Well, I could, for a bit, but in my family, it wouldn't be best. Oh, that it was best.

Not that I'd do what you did. I'd just cry and hug her and she'd cry and probably yell and say "Go away" and then later we'd have a nice snuggle and a laugh.

But right now I'm needing to reconnect with both my family members and the TIME is the problem...

Anonymous said...

That is the most beautiful story about a mother and daughter I have ever read.